Today I felt discouraged. I discovered that even though I had been working diligently and consistently at something I’d felt God wanted me to do, someone else had been more “successful” at the same thing and with very little obvious effort. I must admit that I had the thought “really, but I work and try so hard, how come it comes so easily to them?” I may have even whispered “God, what’s with that?”
We are all going to experience some level of discouragement at some point in our life. Especially if we are ever going to attemp to be or do anything. It goes with the territory of stepping out, of taking risks and of following our dreams and God’s leading for our lives.
Actually we are in very good company whenever we may feel discouraged. Noah preached for decades, and only 8 people ever responded favourably. (Genesis 5; 2 Peter 2:5) Joseph helped someone, and when they had the opportunity to assist him in return they left him forgotten in an Egyptian prison for years. (Genesis 40:5-15; 23) Moses came down off Mt Sinai after having a “full on” encounter with God to discover that all the people he was responsible for leading were busy worshipping a golden calf. (Exodus 32:1-8) Jeremiah was thrown into a well for speaking the truth, and for doing what God had told him to do. (Jeremiah 38:1-6) David, Job, the early disciples of Jesus, Paul and many others all suffered from discouragement.
So how do we deal with a what the dictionary describes as a: loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness, downheartedness, dejection, depression, demoralization, disappointment, despondency, and hopelessness. Jesus sets an example for us in the way He lived while on the earth.
He refused to give up – the key to overcoming obstacles and disappointments in every situation is not “where you are, but what you are”. Joy and happiness is not to be dependent on our circumstances, but rather upon what we are within us. It’s why it is imperative we know who we are in Jesus. Because when we discover that truth we become unstoppable regardless of discouragement.
He had perspective -Jesus looked at every situation from a heavenly viewpoint. He said for us to “lift up our eyes” (John 4:35). And to set our mind on things above, and not earthly things. God’s got all our needs and even the secret desires of our heart under control. He just says to seek him, amd He’ll add to us all the things everyone else spends so much energy and time trying to make happen. (Colossians 3:2; Matthew 6:33)
He kept walking – Jesus knew what he was on earth to do and he just kept his focus on sharing the good news and ultimately in dying, so as to release mankind from the bondage of sin and the devil.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people”. (Matthew 4:23-24)
He drew aside and prayed – when faced with decisions or sorrow such as when John the baptist was murdered, Jesus draw close to the Father and received strength and comfort.
“When Jesus heard what happened he withdraw by boat privately to a solitary place”. (Matthew 14:13)
“And rising very early in the morning while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed”.(Mark 1:35-36)
He kept doing good, and speaking love, joy and blessing – In the midst of opposition and discouragements Jesus just kept right on doing what He was called to do, and ultimately He triumphed over sin and death.
…”Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him”. (Acts 10:38)
If you ever feel discouraged; lift your head up and look to, and learn from Jesus. Know and remind yourself who you are, and what you are here for. Learn to wait and to draw your strength from a loving God who sees all. He says, “don’t grow weary in doing good for in due season you shall reap if you do not give up”. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
Plus as I discovered today, be on the alert and watch out for God’s unexpected blessings and surprises to encourage you. He is a good God, and if we just hold steady and keep walking with Him, He promises He’ll make it all work out better than we could ever of thought, dreamt or imagined. (Ephesians 3:20)
Prayer: Jesus thank you for your example of how to navigate and walk through discouragement. Help me to remember and to keep my eyes on the truth of who I am, and what I am here for so that I don’t give up. In Jesus Name Amen.